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EU slaps sanctions on Crimean officials, parliamentarians

According to information available to TASS, the decision on the sanctions was greenlighted after Cyprus lifted its veto on this issue on Monday

BRUSSELS, January 28. /TASS/. The European Union has officially announced its decision to blacklist seven Crimean politicians - acting Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev, Crimea’s Chairman of the Council of Ministers Yuri Gotsanyuk, Chairman of the Legislative Assembly of Sevastopol Vladimir Nemtsev, Russia’s Federation Council (upper house) member for Sevastopol, Yekaterina Altabayeva and three heads of electoral commissions of Crimea and Sevastopol, the Council of the European Union said in a statement issued in the Official Journal of the EU on Tuesday.

"The Council added seven persons to the list of those subject to restrictive measures over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," the press release reads. According to the document, sanctions are imposed "as a consequence of the organisation of Russian local elections on 8 September, 2019" in Crimea and Sevastopol which the EU continues to consider "illegally annexed."

Therefore, the Ukraine blacklist of the EU now contains 177 people and 44 organizations. Almost all legal entities included in the list are authoritative bodies, state and military institutions of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR, LPR) while more than half natural persons in the list used to be Ukrainian citizens back in 2014.

The European Union approved additional sanctions against Russia before holding an EU-Ukraine Association Council meeting in Brussels on Tuesday attended by Ukrainian Prime Minister Alexei Goncharuk.

According to information available to TASS, the decision was greenlighted after Cyprus lifted its veto on this issue on Monday. Cyprus was blocking this slight toughening of sanctions for the past two months trying to persuade other EU members to speed up adoption of restrictions against Turkish legal entities and natural persons responsible for geological exploration works in contested waters around the island.

In 2014, the European Union slapped sanctions against Russia relating to the Ukraine events and Crimea’s reunification and continues to expand and prolong them. The visa-free regime and new basic agreement on cooperation talks were suspended, Russian officials were prohibited from entering EU countries, their assets were frozen, and restrictive trade, financial and military measures were adopted. In response, Moscow banned agricultural imports from the EU.